The (Joliet) Herald-News
SHOREWOOD -- In 2006, seventh-grader Conlan Fay went to the old Shorewood Village Hall to see how local government works as part of a Troy Middle School youth and government group.
But he wasn't as interested in the politics as he was with what he saw through a window to a closed-circuit cable TV setup: lights, camera and action.
Fay's interest in TV started at the village and blossomed into a career.
Today, Fay is a senior at Columbia College studying TV production. But at the same time he is working part time as an engineer for the college's TV department, ABC 7 in Chicago, WCIU, and has worked for ESPN shooting Northwestern University football games.
But that started to become reality at the Shorewood Village Hall, where he still works as the SCCTV channel 6 station director and chief engineer for the village's audio-visual equipment.
"I just absolutely loved it when I started at the village," Fay said. "I attended both board meetings after that and started taping them. I was asked if I wanted to start volunteering and I said yes."
Fay was asked by Mayor Rick Chapman to start working as a part-time employee in the TV department in 2008.
"He showed so much interest in learning the system it was a no-brainer," Chapman said. "He upgraded us to the digital systems and upgraded to new equipment. He was perfect."
"I learned the ropes, watched and eventually started to run the cameras," Fay said.
Since then, Fay started WJCA, the Joliet Catholic Academy TV station, with several classmates. He also facilitated the deals that brought video equipment from ABC 7 to the village.
Fay's father, John Fay, said the interest in TV came to his son when he was a kid.
"When he was younger, his grandma bought him a hand-held video camera," John Fay said. "He was making little mock movies and skits and directing them at a young age."
Conlan Fay knew he was going to do TV production when he was a sophomore or junior at Joliet Catholic Academy, which his father praised as following his dream.
"He truly has a passion for it," John Fay said. "It's wonderful to see how people like him who love what he does and is good at it."
Shorewood Community Development Director Karen James has worked with Conlan Fay since he started working for the village.
"He's a part of the team," James said. "He was handling equipment when he first got here, but he transitioned over to running it."